Styling Bookshelves: 5 Pro Tips to Make It a Total Wow Factor

Stylized bookshelves can either be a wow factor in a room or an unsightly distraction. Our favorite bookshelves are personal and tell your story through artwork, books, found travel pieces, and sentimental family objects. I love framing kids’ artwork, an old swatch of fabric from a wedding dress, or even a piece of wallpaper from a first home – options are endless to make shelves personal.


Let’s break down 5 straightforward styling tips that will make it look like an interior designer laid their hands on your shelves!


Source Pinterest via The Lifestyled Co

  1. Go BIG. Start with the largest pieces you have to ground the space. Use these to anchor the shelf and then gather up all smaller vases, framed artwork, and objects (a cohesive grouping of small objects counts!) and start placing them throughout the remaining shelf space.

  2. Books here, there, and everywhere. Coffee table books are better than paperback size, but we use a mix of both. Style books both vertically and horizontally and stack away! Pro tip, remove (and toss, no you won’t use them later!) the exterior book cover if the coloring simply does not work. Second pro tip, spin those books around, spines facing in, to make the color palette more cohesive and tonal.

  3. Mix in personal objects and unique accessories. Add sentimental items to tell a piece of your history, like a vase from your grandmother or softer sculptural items, like your dad’s beat-up old leather camera case, to soften the hard lines of books. Framed family and sentimental photography always draws your guests in, so print your most cherished shots. Embrace your sentimental items and moments!

  4. Go green. No need to maintain the bookshelves with living plants if you don’t have a green thumb – this is a perfect space for faux. If anyone checks to see if that plant is breathing, rethink them in your home in the first place.

  5. Lastly, step back and snap a pic with your phone. This allows you to assess your final assortment and see what doesn’t feel right. Play around and rearrange without losing your round one masterpiece. More often than not, you nailed it the first go!


Source: Pinterest, via McGee & Co

Source: Pinterest, via Shades of Blue Interiors